Sweaty adult female lays on bed struggling to sleep due to sleep and restless leg syndrome.

Summertime Blues: My RLS Hates the Heat

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved the summer. For 3 wonderful summers in a row, my family got to go camping almost the entire summer. It was fantastic because we would travel to an area kind of close to where my Dad lived, enabling him to come camping with us. We kids were still trying to get used to the new reality of our parents being separated and our Dad now living 5 hours away with a bunch of mountains separating us.

Summer temperatures have increased between the 90s and now

Back then, it didn’t get as hot in the summertime. The 90s were a good decade. The valley my town is in has a weather effect called a rain shadow, which is an area of significantly reduced rainfall behind a mountainous region, on the side facing away from prevailing winds.

On the plus side, there are 3 lakes in my town, although 1 you don’t swim in. In the 90s, we would get a high of only about 35°C (35 degrees Celsius), a temperature I thought was way too hot when I was a kid.

Now, we are getting up to 40°C as a high. I know that might not seem like a big difference, but for me and my various diseases, it’s too hot. Especially too hot to function, which my restless legs syndrome (RLS) really needs me to be able to do.

My area suffered a heat dome

Last year was the worst in my entire life (yes, I know almost 35 years isn’t long). We suffered a heat dome; 619 people ended up dying because of the heat dome, with temperatures reaching 45°C.

In some parts of my province, there was a 75-degree difference between the heat dome and the following winter snap of -25°C, with 173 days in between the hottest day and the coldest day. This isn’t factoring in the windchill, which can bring the temperatures even lower.

How extreme heat impacts my RLS

The heat dome was very rough on me, and not just because of my heart issues and fibromyalgia; my RLS really can’t stand temperatures higher than 25°C.

As a result, my sleep was horrible. It was too hot to exercise even in front of the AC, so my RLS kept getting progressively worse. Despite it being too hot to move, my legs were driven to move by the sheer intensity of my RLS.

An unusually mild summer has brought relief

The heat dome lasted for 1 week, but the temperatures before and after it were still quite high. I think it was probably 3 weeks to almost a month where the temperatures were just way too hot to be able to go for walks, so my RLS really hated me. At least in the wintertime, I can bundle up and still go for walks.

I am very grateful that this year we have had an unusually wet and mild summer. My RLS has been loving it. I wish I could live somewhere where all year round it stayed between 20-25°C, the perfect temperature for both me and my diseases.

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